Update: Bypass funding welcomed

Update 11.40am: The Committee for Gippsland has this morning welcomed the State Government’s commitment to fund a $1.4 million business case for a future Traralgon bypass.

Committee for Gippsland chief executive Mary Aldred said she was “delighted” with the announcement.

“A business case is the first and most significant step to date towards the construction of a future Traralgon Bypass, and the Committee for Gippsland commends the Victorian Government for this important prioritisation,” said Ms Aldred.

“The Committee for Gippsland is currently undertaking important consultation with Traralgon traders and residents, as well as the Gippsland transport industry, and looks forward to feeding the results of this back to the Victorian Government in the near future to help inform the broader business case process.

“Gippsland is a freight driven region and it is important that we give Gippsland producers every available opportunity to bring their products even closer to market and enhance their competitiveness as a world-beating region. This objective, combined with the traffic safety dividends for local residents that a Traralgon Bypass will provide makes today’s announcement an excellent outcome for Gippsland.”

A bypass for Traralgon may become a reality after the State Government confirmed it would commit funding to develop a business case for the project.

State Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said she was “pleased to confirm the Victorian Government has committed $1.4 million” to the business case.

“The bypass will help to ease pressure on the Princes Highway East and will boost traffic flow and safety in Eastern Victoria,” she said.

A State Government spokesperson said the preferred route for the Traralgon bypass “is in line with the route that was previously selected”.

This previously-selected route, the most northern option W1C, was chosen in 2008 by the then-State Government to avoid coal deposits.

This announcement comes after the Committee for Gippsland launched a campaign on Wednesday to lock in funding commitments for a Traralgon bypass business case and for the bypass itself.

Committee for Gippsland chief executive Mary Aldred said Traralgon had a significant level of traffic congestion with trucks and cars travelling through the town.

“Traralgon is the largest remaining town in Gippsland not to have a bypass,” she said.

“This is a safety concern for pedestrians and cyclists and a big handbrake on efficiency and productivity for the big volumes of Gippsland road freight being moved in and out of the region.”

Ms Aldred said she the Committee for Gippsland was not campaigning for a specific route for the bypass.

As the original route was selected to avoid coal deposits, Ms Aldred said the changing role of coal in the region was “an important consideration to take into account”.

“We would expect that to be evaluated through a comprehensive business case,” she said.